Nick Harris

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So far Nick Harris has created 42 blog entries.

M AND M – ONLY ONE THE MADDEST PLACE ON EARTH

It was a truly glorious English Summer morning when I woke up on Sunday. A morning to treasure with birdsong the only sound to pierce the silence as the orange sun rose above the green trees. As we prepared for the weekly visit to the local Supermarket of course my thoughts and particularly my heart turned to without a doubt the maddest place on earth at the very same time. It may have been 1200 kms away but I could see and smell that yellow smoke pouring down the Mugello hillsides like a secret mist while those wooded Tuscan hills shook to their very core with 100,000 crazy people dancing, singing and partying to support their local hero in the only way they know how. I also thought back seven days earlier to the total contrast in the atmosphere at another place beginning with M where the four wheel counterpart to MotoGP were about to do battle. Both Mugello and Monaco had start to finish winners but in every way they could have come from different planets.

Of course those yellow clad Italian fans were disappointed that their Emperor Valentino Rossi did not follow up his amazing pole position at Mugello but third place behind the two Ducati’s made it a cause of more celebration, not that they needed much persuasion as they poured onto the hallowed tarmac after the 23 lap race. They also witnessed a little bit of history with Jorge Lorenzo’s long awaited first victory on the red 355 kph plus Ducati monster.

It was great to see Lorenzo back on the top step of the podium although it has not taken quite as long as you may have imagined. It was his 24th ride on the Ducati since his Yamaha switch and only Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi have achieved that first win in a shorter space of time. Stoner won first time out and Capirossi on his sixth ride but behind Lorenzo come Troy Bayliss on 33, Andrea Iannone 61 and Andrea Dovizioso 71. Rossi rode the Ducati in battle 35 times but never won. 

The 6.370s victory margin was the biggest for Ducati since Stoner won in Australia eight years ago and Lorenzo is the only rider in the MotoGP era to win on both Ducati and Yamaha machinery. He also joined a very special elite band of riders whose grand prix wins in the elite class span over ten years. The others in the decade club are Giacomo Agostini, Alex Barros, Phil Read, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi – some list!  (more detail of this list here: http://www.nick-harris.co.uk/a-decade-of-winning-in-motogp-for-jorge-lorenzo/ )

 So Mugello or Monaco – Absolutely no contest although both beat queuing to get out of the Supermarket car park.

By | June 7th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|1 Comment

ONE LITTLE INCONVENIENCE AT MAGNIFICENT MUGELLO

From the moment the late great John Brown returned to the Motor Cycle News office to eulogise about the new Mugello circuit to a young rookie reporter I wanted to visit the spiritual home of MotoGP. JB had just witnessed the classic 1976 battle between Barry Sheene and Phil Read in those Tuscan Hills that was decided by one tenth of a second and I made my first visit six years later – I was not disappointed although there was one slight inconvenience, if you will excuse the pun.   

However glamorous your job may seem from the outside it’s still the basics that matter. Flying all over the world commentating on World Championship Motorsport may have seemed the perfect way to earn a living, but scrape the surface and it’s those basics that kept a predominately male group of travelling souls ticking over.

Topics of conversations varied especially when you were on those long flyaway trips. Football and the opposite sex were high on the agenda on flights to the far flung corners of the old British Empire as long as I can remember. That probably does not come as the greatest surprise to those long suffering loved ones back home who maintained regular life ready for our return with bags of laundry and excuses of jet lag when a meal out was suggested – After all give us a break, we have been eating out every night for the last three weeks talking about football and the opposite sex!  

Occasionally conversations did vary to a more practical level touching on how bad would the traffic be into the circuit, what time was lunch and the most importantly the availability of the nearest loo to our commentary position. Four hours of live television, punctuated with the need to consume vast quantiles of bottled water, caused their own special problems especially to somebody in the grey hair age range. 

Even the most modern of circuits have caused some tricky moments. This weekend’s venue Mugello, the Ferrari F1 test track and magnificent home of the Italian MotoGP race, always had facilities to die for apart from a good old fashioned sit down loo. A hole in the ground is a hole in the ground despite being surrounded by gleaming while marble and bright lights. The search for a proper sit down job became the focus of our investigative powers. Two were eventually discovered. The first in the medical centre and the second behind the commentary boxes on the second floor of the paddock complex. The only problem was the one behind the commentary box had no lock because it was a disabled toilet. A nameless colleague from the BBC was caught in a compromising position by the cleaner while sampling its delights. He’d devised an intricate locking method of wrapping his belt round the door handle combined with a broom handle but it failed miserably in his hour of need. 

Imagine our celebrations when we arrived at our favourite grand prix a few years ago to discover our predicament and discomfort was over with the arrival of proper sit down loos. Still the marble and the bright lights, but to be enjoyed sitting down. We could get back to talking about the opposite sex and football once again.

By | May 30th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on ONE LITTLE INCONVENIENCE AT MAGNIFICENT MUGELLO

THUMBS UP OR THUMBS DOWN FROM EMPEROR VALE

I was sightseeing in the magnificent City of Rome last week and every time I closed my eyes standing above the spine tingling arena of the Colosseum the same picture emerged. There was the Emperor Valentino Rossi sitting on his throne while two leather clad gladiators Marc Marquez and Casey Stoner fought below as the crowd roared their encouragement baying for their blood. After all these two gladiators had found both the bravery and skill to defy their beloved Emperor in battle. They were part of a very select band of warriors.

Back to the real world and the modern day Colosseum arena on Sunday afternoon and the HJC Helmets Grand Prix of France at a sweltering Le Mans.Marquez was a comfortable winner to secure his third win in succession on the Repsol Honda and open an impressive lead in the Championship as he chases his fifth MotoGP crown. The win equalled the 38 MotoGP victories for Stoner that brought the Australian those two World titles for both Ducati and Honda before his premature retirement.

They had arrived at different times but both still in the middle of the long Rossi revolution. While others fell by the wayside under the sheer weight of the Rossi factor both on and off the track, Marquez and Stoner stood their ground and were prepared to face the Emperor head on. Two very different characters off the track but once in the arena true gladiators who were, and in Marquez’s case are, afraid of nothing and love nothing more than a bit of hand to hand conflict. 

Their records are very similar. Marquez won those 38 grands prix in 95 races all riding the factory Honda. Stoner achieved a similar number in 115 races, 23 on the Ducati and 15 in his two years on the factory Honda. Stoner grabbed two more podiums than the current MotoGP World Champion with 69 appearances on the stage but it probably will not surprise you that there is a big difference in one department – the crashes. Stoner had his moments in that memorable seven year MotoGP career and crashed 61 times. Marquez is five races into his sixth year in MotoGP and has crashed 89 times. Crashing in his case is actually when you lose complete contact with the bike and not when you keep the bike upright with your knee, elbow or any other part of your body.  

I never got to the finish of the dream at the Colosseum  and so didn’t discover if Emperor Vale gave the thumbs up or thumbs down to decide if either Marc or Casey or probably both were thrown to the lions. Thirty eight MotoGP wins apiece I think those hungry lions would have been licking their lips at the prospect.

By | May 24th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on THUMBS UP OR THUMBS DOWN FROM EMPEROR VALE

THE BIGGER PICTURE

Of course we all loved going to Paul Ricard in the sunshine and next to the so blue Mediterranean but sometimes we so called journalists can get things out of perspective. The French MotoGP Grand Prix at Le Mans is a prime example of our somewhat one eyed opinions based on what suits us while totally losing what the event and MotoGP is all about. 

To be fair there are plenty of reasons not to enjoy Le Mans if you are working there but the event is not about us, it’s about the fans and they just love the place. Over 100,000 are expected to pack the legendary Bugatti circuit on Sunday and most of them will have been partying all weekend. For many years the French Grand Prix was drifting. Average crowds, lack of entertainment at the circuit causing problems in the town and a general feeling of the racing out on the track was enough to keep everybody happy. It was not and so they did something about it.

This weekend it could not be a greater contrast – the place will be buzzing. Rock Concerts, public autograph sessions and rider appearances, stunt shows plus the fun fair with the obligatory dodgems and big wheel gives the place more the feel of a festival until the serious business of racing gets underway. A French rider starring in the premier class where a certain Johann Zarco has propelled the popularity of the sport in his home country. After all, the last French premier class winner was Regis Laconi 19 long years ago and Zarco has reignited a flame with the French sporting public.  

Sometimes you have to forget your own problems and look at the bigger picture. I can assure you we were all fed up with the random road closures around the circuit that make the journey in a nightmare. Nobody enjoyed having a big under the influence Frenchman jumping on the bonnet of your car and then exchanging pleasantries when you protested when you left the circuit after a long day. Then there was the weather but there is nothing anybody can do about that.

Although better known for the legendary 24 hour car race, Le Mans will stage its 31th Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday. That first 500cc race back in 1969 was won by Giacomo Agostini as he lapped the complete field. One thing we can guarantee in the 27 lap race on Sunday is that will not happen again. The weather – we can offer no such guarantees.

Le Mans may not be everybody’s cup of tea but those 100,000 fans on Sunday will not be drinking tea, I can assure you of that.

By | May 18th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|1 Comment

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON GET THE EYES WATERING

There’s nothing like those special celebrations between Phillip and Peter Oettl after the Moto3 race in Jerez to get the old eyes watering. A father celebrating with his son after his first ever grand prix win never ceases to make me feel good and emotional. Unlike many other sports grand prix motorcycle racing has produced few successful father and son grand prix winning combinations. If the sport is not tough enough already the pressure and expectations heaped on the son of a grand prix winning father must be like a lead weight in his leathers. Of course Dad can open a few extra doors, especially in the early stages, but at some point the comparisons stop and the son has to stand on his own two feet.

Like it or not many sons are just not like their Dads who sometimes just can’t understand why. In other cases they are just a chip off the old block and you recognise all those familiar traits shown at least two decades earlier. Kenny Roberts Senior and Junior seem very different characters off the track while Graziano could only be Valentino Rossi’s Dad.

Without a doubt the most difficult steps to follow must have been if your father had been killed racing which, perhaps for the wrong reasons, increased their status to legendary proportions. Twenty years ago I worked closely with Formula One World Champions Damon Hill and Jacque Villeneuve. Graham Hill had been killed in a plane crash and Gilles Villeneuve in a grand prix and I probably more than anybody at the time, to satisfy the insatiable needs of the media and sponsors, had to constantly ask them about their legendary fathers. Like it or not they were being compared, but both in very different ways followed their own paths to World Championship success. It must have been so tough at times.

This has only happened once on two wheels. Les Graham was the very first 500cc World Champion in 1949 but was tragically killed at the TT in the Isle of Man in 1953. Fourteen years later in 1967 his son Stuart returned to the Isle of Man to win the 50cc race for Suzuki and the 125 cc Finnish Grand Prix at another road circuit in Imatra before turning to four wheels for further success.

There must have been something special in that 1949 air because the very first 125 cc Champion, Italian Nello Pagani, who also finished second behind Graham in the 500cc class, also produced a grand prix winning son. Alberto Pagani won three 500cc grands prix in the late sixties and early seventies but probably the toughest act to follow was the daunting task of Pablo Nieto. Pure bad luck and mechanical problems seemed to form an impregnable barrier to that grand prix win but finally in 2003 he won the 125 cc race at Estoril in Portugal. At last a father and son win to celebrate with his 13 times World Champion Spanish legend Angel, who certainly had learnt the art of celebrating 90 grand prix victories over the last three decades.

Stefan Bradl went one better than Dad Helmut by winning the 2011 Moto2 World Championship. Twenty years earlier Helmut had finished runner–up in the 250 cc Championship winning five grands prix that year but the only father and son to win world titles remains in the very firm grip of the incredible Roberts family. Kenny Senior the brash outspoken genius who changed the very face of grand prix racing and Kenny Junior, who shunned the limelight.

What a racing family. Chalk and Cheese off the track but cheese and cheese plus a few biscuits on it.

By | May 10th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on LIKE FATHER LIKE SON GET THE EYES WATERING

BITE ON THE BOTTOM

Imagine having a corner named after your good self to celebrate your career. It must be the ultimate accolade but the timing is vital.  At Jerez they go to town with the corners around this superb MotoGP venue. Why not celebrate the World Championship successes of Sito Pons, Jorge Martinez, Angel Nieto, Alex Criville and Jorge Lorenzo at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix? The only problem is what corner to give your name to and the timing of the ceremony.

The collective likes of Pons, Martinez, Nieto and Criville collected an impressive 22 World titles between them and more importantly had hung up their leathers before the naming ceremony. Five years ago Jorge Lorenzo, who at the time had won four World titles and made his grand prix debut at Jerez 11 years earlier, had the infamous turn 13 named in his honour.

This was the tight left hander into the finishing straight that had produced more drama and controversy in one lap than some other motorsport championships produce in a complete season. It took just three days for the newly named Jorge Lorenzo corner to reap its revenge and bite its new owner on the bottom. Let’s be honest he’d had plenty of warning.

They still argue about 1996 in this part of the world. Local hero Alex Criville declared the winner of an epic battle with World Champion Mick Doohan by the circuit announcer. The problem was there was still one lap of the 4.423 kms circuit remaining. He’d jumped the gun big style and the ecstatic Spanish fans climbed the fences onto the track to celebrate with their man. As they approached the dreaded turn 13 both Doohan and Criville had to almost weave their way through flag waving fans. When they arrived at the final corner of the 27 lap race, circuit announcer please note, it all kicked off. The two riders touched, Criville went down and Doohan won the race. Criville remounted to finish fourth and the crowd was angry, very angry not that it fussed Doohan one little bit.

Fast forward 19 years. No wrong lap timing by the circuit announcer this time but yet again a Spanish rider coming off second best at turn 13. Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau had long ceased their early friendship and this was a classic duel with a real personal feel. Same old story, last lap turn 13. Rossi up the inside on the brakes, they touched or perhaps clashed. Gibernau ran onto the grass and Rossi won the race. Gibernau stormed up pit line to register his annoyance and Rossi, with 25 precious Championship points, just smiled.

It was about as inevitable as a Doohan grand prix win that Lorenzo would not escape the wrath of turn 13 the weekend he took over its stewardship. Of course it had to be the last lap and this time a fight for second place with the new kid on the block Marc Marquez. They touched; Marquez grabbed second behind Dani Pedrosa and a steaming Lorenzo was third.

Having a corner named in your honour must be so special. Rossi and Marquez will surely be bestowed such an honour but wisely they will wait until they have turned their last wheel in battle. Also they will make their choice of corner a number one priority.

We could think of a few but not the same one for sure.

By | May 4th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|1 Comment

A TRUE WARRIOR

It only seems like yesterday all you had to do was whistle and they would arrive in their droves from across the Atlantic. Those halcyon days of Kenny Roberts Senior and Junior, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz and Nicky Hayden are a distant memory. So what are they going to do about it? Ask Wayne Rainey.

 Some people are just born warriors. While most of us turn our backs and walk away when the going gets tough ,warriors whatever the circumstances, face and then act on whatever lies ahead.  A different breed to usual human beings.

Nobody who was at Misano on September 5th 1993 will ever forget the day. The afternoon a supreme athlete and World Champion was at the very pinnacle of his talent. The terrifying fall in the Misano gravel trap that brought a devastating end to a career and life as Wayne Rainey knew it. Television pictures of the fall still haunt the grand prix paddock. Rainey the three times World 500cc Champion chasing his fourth successive World title after 24 grands prix wins that started at the British Grand Prix five years earlier, confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. 

Roll the calendar forward 25 long years to the Circuit of the Americas in Texas this weekend and the third round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship. It’s been a tough barren time for American racing on the world stage. It’s unbelievable that there is just one American rider Moto2 competitor Joe Roberts in the entry list in all three MotoGP classes, even for a grand prix on home soil

Wayne was there in Texas supervising the second round of the fourth MotoAmerica series that surely will re-start that production line that brought some many Americans to enlighten the world stage. Six years ago American national racing was on its knees. The usual problems of money and politics had engulfed a series that was once the envy of the World. Rainey, who already given so much to a sport that had thrown at him the very pinnacle and lowest pit of despair, decided it was time to do something about it. Together with the likes of Paul Carruthers, son of former 250 cc World Champion Kel and mentor to Kenny Roberts when he led the American charge into Europe, they planned the MotoAmerica project. It’s been tough and Wayne admitted at the weekend that they were still a few years away but an American rider back into the entry list had been achieved. They are moving forward and who better to be at the helm.

After the Misano accident Wayne returned to the paddock a couple of years later to run the 250 cc Yamaha team. Despite being paralysed from the waist down he raced karts with his old mate and adversity Eddie Lawson. He was heavily involved with MotoGP returning to the magnificent Laguna Seca circuit near his home in California and with American racing on its knees he decided he would not let it die.

It’s been a long hard road for Wayne with life changing circumstances none of us could ever imagine but when you are a warrior that is what you do. He will turn American round and without a doubt there will be another American World Champion even if takes a bit longer than Wayne would want. 

Wayne Rainey has faced the ultimate test and came out a true warrior. He will do it again.

By | April 27th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on A TRUE WARRIOR

RANDY MAMOLA – WHERE DO YOU START?

Never has anybody deserved that ultimate accolade of being inducted a MotoGP Legend than Randy. The problem is finding enough space to tell you why because he ticks every box apart from one.

Randy will not thank me for reminding you he is the first non World Champion to join the exclusive club but in so many ways this makes his election even more special and richly deserved. His passionate dedication to the sport, rider’s safety and the Riders for Health charity, his ability to fight back from adversity, loyalty, stubbornness, a true family man and for being one of the funniest men I’ve ever met will do for a start.

The record books can’t tell the real story. Thirteen 500cc grands prix wins, more than World Champions Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini and Kenny Roberts Junior, brought him a heart-breaking runner – spot in the World Championship on four separate occasions. He was a brilliant grand prix rider who certainly ran out of luck at the wrong time and found himself racing in a golden era of rich talent especially from his very own homeland. From the moment the brash freckled faced Californian teenager arrived in Europe we knew we were in for fun and games on and off the track.

On the track I remember that first grand prix victory on a rare visit to Zolder in 1980 followed with a victory at the British Grand Prix. The much televised save of the Rothmans Honda in Italy and two brilliant wins in Assen. Off the track Randy was the undisputed World Champion leading the way in an era of paddock parties, wrecked hire cars and  wild Sunday night celebrations before moving on to place your life and body on the line at the next race.

In 1987 we arrived at the party town of Goiania in Brazil where the outcome of the World Championship was to be decided. Randy had won in Japan, France and San Marino and still had a slim chances preventing Wayne Gardner taking the title. It was the first ever grand prix in Goiania and the night before the first day of practice the riders, sitting round the swimming pool, were asked to judge the Miss Brazilian Grand Prix competition. We were surprised not to see Randy on the judging panel but when a freckled faced ‘lady’ appeared on the catwalk dressed to the nines with a full face of make –up we realised why.

 It was especially tough for Randy when he retired. No World Championship to celebrate and no rich rewards for his glittering career after some disastrous investments by others. He fought back in the same way he had ridden those awesome 500 cc two-strokes. Randy spearheaded the Riders for Health campaign to combat disease in Africa with the same passion and single minded approach that had made him such a great rider. He is worthy ambassador for companies involved in MotoGP, an inspirational riders mentor and does a superb job riding the two-seater providing the ride of a life time for those lucky Ducati guests. Most of all his love of the sport that has brought him such a roller coaster of emotions has never once wavered and that wicked sense of humour and fun is never far away. 

 Randy Mamola a true friend and MotoGP legend.

By | April 20th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|Comments Off on RANDY MAMOLA – WHERE DO YOU START?

IT’S A LONG WAIT – 38 YEARS 344 DAYS TO BE PRECISE

My long black hair rested on my shoulders and was supplemented by an equally thick beard and the compulsory flared jeans. If you’d foreseen the technical revolution of Mobile phones and the internet you would have probably been led away to a quiet room. Nottingham Forest won the European Cup (Champions League) and Art Garfunkel’s song Bright Eyes was the bestselling record in Britain.

It seems like a long time ago and it was. To be precise 38 years and 344 days. Little did we imagine we would have to wait well over half a life time to witness another British rider leading the Premier class in World Championship racing. Once again it was Cal Crutchlow that put the previous 589 grands prix of misery for British fans to bed with his brilliant victory on the LCR Honda in Argentina on Sunday. Cal has this wonderful habit of destroying records set by the legendary late Barry Sheene. Seventeen months ago he won the MotoGP race at Brno in the Czech Republic to become the first British premier class winner since Sheene’s 1981 victory at Anderstorp in Sweden.

Sheene led the old 500cc Championship after winning the opening round on the Suzuki at a scorching hot San Carlos in Venezuela at the opening grand prix of 1979. That lead lasted for just 43 days with Italian Virginio Ferrari taking over at the front after finishing second at the second round at the Salzburgring in Austria. That was that until last Sunday.

There is now only one place for Cal to go. The Isle of Man –based Midlander has just and it’s a very big just, to win the premier class Championship to finally eclipse that desperately barren period of drought for British racing. Of course it was Barry Sheene who was the last premier class World Champion. Forty one, yes 41, years ago he retained the 500cc in 1977 after clinching the title for the first time the previous year.

It’s a mighty big ask for Cal Crutchlow but he arrives at Austin next week with a precious three points     lead over Andrea Dovizioso. He is brimming with confidence as he mixes it with the factory bikes and Cal knows that consistency is going to be the key while others both crash and win. There are 17 grands prix to go before that final round at Valencia in November.

Sheene eventually finished third in the 1979 Championship behind Kenny Roberts and Ferrari. Yes it’s a big ask but I think us British fans deserve a bit of a dream which Crutchlow ignited back in Brno 17 months ago.

I would have to grow a beard and look out those flares if that dream is fulfilled.

By | April 13th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|3 Comments

ARGENTINA PRICKED THE MOTOGP BUBBLE

The MotoGP bubble takes over your life when you are on the road. Practice, qualifying times and tyre choice plus any gossip about take potential rider moves fill your brain and conversations for three days and nights. Then it’s on to the race itself. The outside world rarely gets a look in. It has to be something pretty big and special to break in as I discovered on my first trip to Argentina.

I’d never heard of the Falkland Islands when we flew into Buenos Aires on a sunny spring morning in 1982. By the time we landed back home in Gatwick ten days later I certainly knew exactly where they were. Who can blame me and my colleague Peter Clifford for knowing nothing about a group of isolated Islands that were about to grab the headlines for many months to come.

After all we were on the trip of a lifetime. Somehow and I still don’t know how, we’d persuaded our editor that a Chez Guevara ride across Argentina into the Andes and the Chilean border was the perfect prelude to the Argentine Grand Prix. Honda provided the machines and Peter with a scoop with three RS 500s lying naked in the workshop when we went to pick up our bikes and everybody was at lunch. Freddie Spencer was due to make his Honda grand prix debut on the one of the new three cylinder two-strokes. The expected battle between the young American and the old warhorses Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts turned into a classic.

We returned from a memorable 1000 mile road trip to Buenos Aires and the grand prix which was the opening round of the 1982 Championship. We’d seen a newspaper headline in Mendoza about the Falkland Islands but thought nothing more. Even when Barry Sheene lent me his hire car to take some colour films to the airport in order to have pictures on the front page next Wednesday I didn’t notice the presence of military transport aircraft on the runway. We were having such a great time in an amazing city although there were a few worry aspects. One evening when seeking a shop that sold cheap leather jackets we found ourselves in the middle of a demonstration. Thousands of women with placards demanding to find out what had happened to their lost sons and a large contingent of riot police armed with water cannons was a grim sight.

Away from demonstration Buenos Aires was buzzing. Great restaurants, night life and to us Brit’s not a mention of the Falkland’s. We rode our Honda road bikes to the circuit on the morning of the race. New Zealander Graeme Crosby, who had just signed a massive deal to ride for Giacomo Agostini’s factory Yamaha team, insisted on a lift with Peter before his much publicised debut. A pair of flip flops and shorts was not the ideal clothes for the occasion but this was Croz. Of course being the TT and Daytona winner it was not going to be an easy ride and on the approach roads to the parkland circuit he started standing on the rear footrests. It was obvious to me riding behind what was going to happen and of course it did. Croz lying in the middle of the road with a Honda road bike on top of him a couple of hours before his factory Yamaha debut with blood pouring from his knee.

A little bit of instant first aid and a grazed Croz arrived on time for his debut and Yamaha and Ago were none the wiser. The 32 lap 500cc race round the Autodromo was a classic. At the finish Roberts beat Sheene by just 0.67 s with Spencer an impressive third.

Racing over we rushed to the airport to catch the British Caledonian Sunday night flight to Gatwick. Good job because it was one of the last flights to fly out of Argentina to England for many a long year but still we were oblivious to what was happening. Arrival at Gatwick changed all that with the morning newspaper headlines screaming about the invasion of the Falkland’s by Argentina. We had escaped by the skin of our teeth and war was declared two days later.

For once that MotoGP bubble had been burst.

By | April 6th, 2018|News and Events, Nick's Blog|4 Comments